2nd ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call

e-formality and skills development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Web page | 04 May 2021

The ILO is looking for entities or organizations that have innovative ideas and solutions that, based on the use of new technologies, promote skills development to facilitate the formalization of labour and economic units in Latin America and the Caribbean.

These can include proposals to:
  • develop information systems that, based on the use of new technologies and big data, encourage the development of knowledge and skills to promote formalization;
  • improve existing information on skills needs and labour market trends, targeting the informal economy;
  • improve delivery of active labour market programmes and policies for informal workers;
  • reduce the barriers women face in accessing formal employment, including reducing the gender digital gap, and interventions in feminized sectors in which the levels of informality are high;
  • provide MSMEs with relevant skills that enable the creation of sustainable formal enterprises;
  • ensure that education and vocational training programmes address the needs of informal workers;
  • improve the development and recognition of informal workers’ knowledge and skills;
  • establish new and innovative alliances to promote labour formalization through skills development.

What is the participation process?

To submit a solution:
  1. Check eligibility criteria and conditions for participation in the call available in the Participants Guideline;
  2. Set up a team and develop your proposal;
  3. Complete the application form available on this website;
  4. Submit your solution on the ILO Innovation Platform by 30 June 2021 (midnight Geneva time). To submit an idea the entity or organization will have to sign up to create a user account: https://bit.ly/3a9kxwX. If the entity or organization already has an account, they can go directly to the Challenge pagehttps://bit.ly/3vcrFAO.
You can also send the completed application form and supporting documents to skills@ilo.org by 30 June 2021.

Proposals can be submitted in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. No fee is required to participate in the Call for Proposals. Applicants will receive an email confirmation that their application has been received. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Who can apply?

Any entity or legally recognized non-profit organizations with contractual capacity and duly incorporated that have been in existence for at least two calendar years before the closing date of the call. The idea to be submitted can be a joint collaboration effort by different stakeholders, such as governments, employers’, and workers' organizations.

Applicants are expected to include among the members of their teams, persons who have knowledge and experience in the different areas necessary to implement the proposal.

By entity or non-profit organization, we mean government agencies, employers' and workers' organizations, cooperatives, education and training institutions (including schools, public and private training providers, and universities), NGOs and civil society organizations, universities and other research and educational institutions.

In case of a team work, a project leader should be identified to coordinate the activities and to report to the ILO.

We welcome ideas and solutions at any stage of development. These can be innovations at an early stage or at a more advanced stage.

An independent Selection Committee, composed of ILO specialists in the area of formalization and skills development, external innovation experts, and other external members will evaluate all the proposals.

The top 5 to 7 proposals will be invited to participate in a Pitch event where the teams will present their proposals to the Evaluation Committee.

The main objective of the Pitch event is to give the finalists of the Challenge Call the opportunity to present and share their projects with a large audience across Latin America, the Caribbean and the world, including ILO constituents, other innovators, potential investors, academia, development practitioners, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, among others. The event is an opportunity to create value and put the finalists and their projects in the spotlight, offering them global visibility that can be valuable for their innovation journey.

Prior to the event, finalist proposals will be invited to participate in a virtual mentoring programme. This programme will include mentoring sessions and personalized technical support to refine the proposals based on their needs and feedback from the evaluators. They will also receive advice on how to prepare for the Pitch event.

What will the winners be awarded?

The two winning ideas will receive:
  • Financial Support: The ideas coming in the first and second places will be awarded grants of USD 30,000 and USD 20,000 respectively, to implement the proposed solution.
  • Access to an Innovation Lab: Through boot camps and remote mentoring, winning proposals will receive technical support to turn their ideas into ready-to-implement prototypes.
  • Pilot: Once the prototype is developed, innovators and partners will test the solution through a pilot test.
  • Visibility: winning proposals will receive support through awareness raising of the idea and solution, including an invitation to a regional event where the innovative idea may be presented to potential partners and sponsors, and the development of press articles and communication materials, among others.
  • Access to a wide network of experts in the area of formalization and skills development: winning ideas and shortlisted entries will be invited to join the ILO Skills Innovation Network. Through the network, members will have the opportunity to exchange with other innovators and to share their solutions with ILO partners.

Key dates and deadlines:

  • Call launch: 4 May 2021;
  • Deadline for submission: 30 June 2021 (midnight Geneva time);
  • Announcement of the top 5-7 proposals: 20 September 2021;
  • Mentoring and training sessions: 20 September - 5 October 2021;
  • Pitch event: 4 November 2021.
Should you have any questions regarding the call in general or the application process, please contact us at: skills@ilo.org.